Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Master Of The Mystics

I don't know if Dr. Strange is still making a big deal out of having the title "Sorcerer Supreme." It always seemed like a brainstormed title to me, given to the character to make him sound and seem a little more dramatic and powerful. When it was first trotted out, with the Ancient One's death, it was something to be bequeathed, as well as a title which meant that no other mortal magician was stronger. That's a little presumptuous, if the mystic arts are teachings and disciplines to be taught and studied. Strange may possess the Ancient One's collection of artifacts and tomes, and his library may be second to none, but he's surely not the only mystic bookworm. Yet apparently, the Ancient One's "power" and status were things that could be passed on to and absorbed by Strange after his teacher's death--which almost makes much of the time Strange spent studying as a disciple seem moot, as well as slamming the door on anyone else who feels like ascending to or surpassing Strange's level of mystic mastery.

"Master of the Mystic Arts" may not have given much fanfare to Strange--but I always liked it, because it was a classic and looked really cool below his cover masthead. But it also didn't elevate him to the point of exclusion. There could be other masters of the mystic arts, other "flavors" of sorcerers, if you will--while there can be only one "Sorcerer Supreme." For all the good that title did to its bearer. As we'd later see, being Sorcerer Supreme mostly made Strange a bigger target; but it was apparently also a way to make Strange more marketable. "Master of the Mystic Arts" was perhaps too enigmatic--while "Sorcerer Supreme" was bolder and certainly upped Strange's ante as far as the types of threats we could expect him to engage.

I just wasn't crazy about it.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see the earliest scenes of Strange as "Sorcerer Supreme"--spending nine days meditating in the Mexican desert, where Clea and Wong find him getting his bearings, so to speak. It's a brief scene, but it allows us to see Strange in the process of assimilating his new state of enlightenment and serves as a sort of transition between the man he was and the sorcerer he'll become:

Interestingly, with his new enlightenment, Strange also seems to have adopted an "eye for an eye" approach as far as dealing with his enemies:

Which almost makes you wonder if Baron Mordo would have met a similar fate.


Doc Savage said...

Sounds like a Roy Thomas invention, as he likes putting adjectives after nouns for whatever reason. Was it Roy?

He wanted it to be the Kree "Intelligence Supreme."

Unknown said...

Last I read, Strange had regressed into some wisecracking drunkard and lost the title to, erm, Brother Voodoo!?!! Sheesh, wotta revoltin' development!

Comicsfan said...

Yes, the Brother Voodoo development is where I left it, too. Another reason why I generally frown on the events of World War Hulk.

Comicsfan said...

Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner co-plotted those stories, so perhaps it was a concept they both cooked up.

Doc Savage said...

Brother Voodoo is awesome. He's much more interesting to me than Doc Strange, at least when I read this stuff in the '70s.

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